Tahoe Dive Center
SCUBA diving is not new to Tahoe. My connections have been diving in the lake since the mid-1970s. However, SCUBA’s popularity in the basin is growing fast and every year more people give it a try. There are many pseudo dive shops around the lake itself, but for the real deal, and I’m talking a five-star PADI dive shop, look no further than the Tahoe Dive Center (TDC) at 1305 S. Carson St. in Carson City, NV.
Originally known as Strictly SCUBA, the Tahoe Dive Center has been teaching and equipping people to revel in Tahoe’s underwater world since 1993. For those familiar with other PADI centers domestically and internationally, the Tahoe Dive Center will feel both similar and different. Most notably, the TDC offers a whole bevy of classes and certifications for every level of SCUBA progression. If you’re new to diving, the TDC can get you an open-water certification, but it can also take you all the way to Dive Master and Instructor levels of expertise. The Dive Center also has elevation/Tahoe specific certifications that it specializes in, making it an industry leader in Alpine lake instruction; these courses include altitude, side-mount, dry-suit, deep diver, as well as search + recovery classes. As an avid diver myself, I must admit that I’ve never found such a diversity in classes/certs available at any dive center anywhere.
In spite of all other reasons to dive Tahoe, at the end of the day, there is only one reason: the exceptional visibility. Almost every SCUBA enthusiast dreams of crystal clear water and many spend years and thousands of dollars trying to find it. Ocean SCUBA can be challenging for this reason because there is no way to predict the clarity on any given day, making it less of a sure thing. However, Tahoe is reliably clear the entire year round, meaning that some consider Tahoe the best diving in California.
There are many dive-sites in Lake Tahoe, but the most popular seem to be at Sand Harbor, which is a great beginner area. On the other end of the spectrum is Rubicon Point, which boasts some of the finest wall dives anywhere (just off the shore there is a 1,000 ft. shelf that drops straight down!!).
Learning to dive in Tahoe is like learning a manual before an automatic; the immediate challenges will be greater than the alternative, but these challenges will make you ready for any dive, anywhere in the world…